Getting Started in Connecticut

For New Farmers

Starting a farm operation requires thorough analysis of options that may be complex. Setting goals, planning and brainstorming with others can help you make the best decisions for your particular situation. However, there are no easy answers. If you're a beginning farmer looking for a chance to start your own operation, this Connecticut Farm Link website can help you examine your alternatives.

We suggest you first call the CT Department of Agriculture’s Marketing Department (860) 713-2503 for an informational packet on starting a farm business in Connecticut. We have experience in guiding you through the basics of farming in Connecticut.

Next, we strongly recommend the town hall where the land you are going to farm is located. Speak to the Zoning Board and the Assessor's Office. You must remember that town ordinances and zoning for that town must be followed.

You should have a business plan. This is a basic tool that you will repeatedly need in your business. It will help you to establish lines of credit and to apply for grants with our agency!  Please download the Business Plan Sources sheet that we created that conveniently lists 5 or 6 different organizations that can help you create a plan for your new business!

For current State of Connecticut statutes that relate to agriculture, please visit our Laws and Regulations page. This page has the definition of agriculture, tax forms, information on Public Act 490, Connecticut's law (Connecticut General Statutes Sections 12-107a through 107-f) that allows your farm, forest, or open space land to be assessed at its use value rather than its fair market or highest and best use value.

Click here to get information on how to obtain a Sales & Use Tax ID number and a Farmer Tax Exemption Permit from the Connecticut  Department of Revenue Services.

Click here to start a business and register the name of the business with the Connecticut Secretary of State.

To get permits that are under the jurisdiction of the CT Department of Agriculture, that relate to operating a farm in Connecticut, visit the State of Connecticut's CLIC site and its Agriculture License page.

Finally, we have developed  a New Farmer Packet, with some general information on many topics. Please be aware this is nearly 100 pages of information, so think before you hit the print button!

For even more general information on how to begin or dissolve a business in Connecticut, please consider visiting the State of Connecticut's CLIC Frequently Asked Questions page.

USDA's National Agricultural Library, in partnership with the American Farm Bureau Federation, announced www.Start2farm.gov, a new online portal that helps to provide assistance for beginning farmers and ranchers. The portal includes links to training, financing, technical assistance and other support services specifically for beginning farmers and ranchers as well as successful case studies about new and beginning farmers and ranchers.

USDA's New Farmer Page

 

 

Other Helpful State And National Organizations


CT Dept of Economic & Community Development Programs and Services provides services to all Connecticut businesses.  http://www.ct.gov/ecd/cwp/view.asp?a=1095&q=249640

Growing New Farmers: a Northeastern US collaborative to help new farmers.  Information at this website used this site as a clearinghouse for the needs of new farmers and to address them.
http://www.growingnewfarmers.org

New England Small Farm Institute has a lot of other information about farm transfer, farm succession, small farms, farm planning and exploring the small farm dream.
Iowa’s Agricultural Marketing Resource Center has a series of web pages with documents on how to start an ag business and the planning process. http://www.agmrc.org/agmrc/business/startingbusiness/

And also has another set of pages on how to operate the business:

http://www.agmrc.org/agmrc/business/operatingbus

NEW! Penn State has a  great website on marketing informationhttp://agmarketing.extension.psu.edu/Wholesale.html

The Connecticut Women's Agricultural Network www.ctwagn.com (WAgN) is committed to helping women succeed at starting, sustaining, and supporting agricultural related endeavors through educational programming and networking opportunities.  Check them out!

The US Dept of Commerce Small Business Administration (the SBA)Counseling & Training | SBA.gov  has helpful programs for businesses. please visit their website.

NEW! Online Resources

Connecticut Weekly Agricultural Report  -  A weekly publication that allows you to discover all that's happening with CT agriculture!


Farmer's Guide to Processing and Selling Meat or Poultry in Connecticut - (1095 KB, 24 page, .pdf) - What are the rules? Who are the regulators? This guide is published by the University of Connecticut with contributions from the CT Departments of Public Health, Consumer Protection and Agriculture.  Download the word doc version: 167KB, 13pgs

Farmers' Market Reference Guide - (2.22 MB, 167pgs, .pdf) - Looking to start a new farmers' market?  This guide will assist you through the process.

NEW! University of Illinois-Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics- College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences has created FAST (Farm Analysis Solution Tools. Find a whole set of Microsoft Excel spreadsheets assist agricultural decisions on your computer. FAST aids users with cash flow, rent versus buy option, financial analysis, and evaluating the impacts of farm business decisions. Visit http://farmdoc.illinois.edu/fasttools/index.asp

If you have any questions or comments regarding the FAST spreadsheets, FAST training workshops, or anything else relating to FAST Tools and Resources, please contact:
Ryan Batts
300B Mumford Hall
1301 West Gregory Drive
Urbana , IL 61801
Ph: (217) 333-1817
Fax: (217) 333-5538
Email: batts@illinois.edu


Apprenticeship and Training Opportunities

Ambler Farm in Wilton, Connecticut has a summer program for middle school children to have the hands-on, on-farm experience.

http://www.amblerfarm.org

 

CRAFT: Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training in Western CT. Apprenticeship program on several cooperating organic farms. http://www.bloomingfieldsfarm.com/cft_home.html

 

Educational and Training Opportunities in Sustainable Agriculture (nationwide listing from the National Agricultural Library) The 19th edition (June 2009) of Educational and Training Opportunities in Sustainable Agriculture is now available free, online on our Web site here: www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/AFSIC_pubs/edtr.htm

 

New England Willing Workers on Organic Farms (an apprenticeship placement service):
http://www.smallfarm.org/newoof/newoof.html

New England Willing Workers on Organic Farms (an apprenticeship placement service):
http://www.smallfarm.org/newoof/newoof.html

 

Models of Incubator Farms or New Farmer Training Programs:

Intervale Farms Program (Vermont):  a small farm incubator program that leases land, greenhouses, and equipment to new farmers who set up small organic farm enterprises on Intervale land: www.intervale.org/FarmsProgram.htm

Nuestras Raices (Holyoke, MA):  Started as an urban gardening program with the Puerto Rican community.  Now includes an incubator farm, Tierra de Oportunidades, as well as a community kitchen, bakery, restaurant, youth program, etc.
www.nuestras-raices.org/

Southside Community Land Trust (Providence, RI): Also started with community gardens, expanded to include environmental programs, city farm.
http://users.ids.net/~sclt/

New Entry Sustainable Farming Project (Tufts University with farms in Dracut and other towns): Trains immigrant and refugee farmers in agriculture with an 18 week program.  At the end of 18 weeks, the farmers should have in hand a production plan, business plan, and marketing plan, and be ready to farm on a small scale at the incubator farm.  At the end of 3 years, the project helps the new farmer get established on other land (generally rented from local farmers).  http://nutrition.tufts.edu/research/nesfp/

 
 
 

Are you a young farmer in need of land? Are you an established farmer needing additional land? the FarmLink listing program is a way to connect with landowners in Connecticut.  Our program charges no fees!

Send in your signed application today:

Farm Seeker application
Farm Owner application

After your application has been received, we will give you a case number. This allows you to  call any time to receive complete copies of the current opportunities available in the CT Farm Link Program.

These listings are updated when new information is received. Please make sure to check your own listing for accuracy and report any inaccuracies.

Farm Seeker List   
Farm Owner List